How a radical redesign of an online course signup page impacted email acquisition Experiment ID: #7028
Founded in 1844, Hillsdale College is an independent liberal arts college with a student body of about 1,400. Hillsdale’s educational mission rests upon two principles: academic excellence and institutional independence. The College does not accept federal or state taxpayer subsidies for any of its operations.
Timeframe: 7/5/2017 - 7/10/2017
Hillsdale College noticed that there was room for optimization on their “Economics 101” online course signup page. After reviewing other sites that offer online courses, they decided to take some design elements that they found and implement it in a treatment version of the page. They attempted to increase the congruency between their Facebook ad and the course signup page by using the same imagery in both. They also were interested in seeing how a “typical” online course signup page would perform against their current control. They launched an A/B test and documented the results.
Will a radically redesigned course signup page that uses familiar imagery increase conversion?
MECLABS Conversion Factors Targeted
C = 4m + 3v + 2( i - f) - 2a ©
Copyright 2015, MECLABS
|Treatment Name||Conv. Rate||Relative Difference||Confidence|
This experiment has a required sample size of 238 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 1,072, and the level of confidence is above 95%, the experiment results are valid.
Flux Metrics Affected
The Flux Metrics analyze the three primary metrics that affect revenue (traffic, conversion rate, and average gift). This experiment produced the following results:
0% increase in traffic
× 31.2% decrease in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift
Hillsdale College found that the treatment version lowered the email acquisition rate by just over 31%. It appears that this radical redesign may have actually increased anxiety and friction for the user rather than decreasing it. There are a few potential reason for that. First, The form is now on the right side, level with the body copy. This requires the viewer to read all the way down on the left side, then return to the top and read all the way down on the right side. In the control, the reader simply reads all the way down to the end of the page, where the form is located. Second, the familiar background image may actually serve as a distraction to the reader’s eyes. It could be considered overpowering and, for that reason, may subconsciously cause the reader to be more anxious. Finally, the treatment version lacked 3rd party validation. This has been tested and proved to significantly help increase acquisition on course pages like these.
Despite the disappointing results, Hillsdale did learn a lot from this experiment. They will continue to test various page layouts, specifically on course signup pages.